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Workshop on the Resiliency of the Electric Power Delivery System in Response to Terrorism and Natural Disasters


February 27-28, 2013
The National Academy of Sciences Building
The Lecture Room
2101 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20418




Project Scope 
The National Academies' National Research Council (NRC) will establish a committee of about 18 individuals. The committee will consider approaches to reducing the vulnerability, enhancing the robustness, and improving the resilience and ability to recover of future electrical transmission and distribution (T&D) in the United States to potential terrorist attacks. The committee will use as a starting point the three recent reports addressing electric T&D in the nation, namely, the National Academies' report, "Making the Nation Safer: The Role of Science & Technology in Countering Terrorism;" the DOE report, "Grid 2030, A National Vision for Electricity Second 100 Years," and the EPRI report, "Electricity Sector Framework for the Future." The study will address technical, policy, and institutional factors that may affect the evolution of electrical T&D in the United States in the midterm (e.g., 3 to 10 years) and the long term (10 to 25 years). The committee will identify priority technology opportunities, R&D directions, policy and institutional actions, and strategies that will lead to more secure electrical T&D in the face of an uncertain future. The committee will write a report documenting its findings and recommendations.
Sponsor: Dept. of Homeland Security
Committee Members and NRC Staff
Granger Morgan, Carnegie Mellon University (committee chair)
Massoud Amin, University of Minnesota
Edward Badolato, (deceased)
William Ball, Southern Company Services
Anjan Bose, Washington State University
Clark Gellings, Electric Power Research Institute
Michehl Gent, North American Electric Reliability Corporation (retired)
Diane Munns, MidAmerican Energy Company
Sharon Nelson, State of Washington Attorney General’s Office (retired)
David Owens, Edison Electric Institute
Lou Rana, Consolidated Edison Company (retired)
Don Russell, Texas A&M University
Richard Schuler, Cornell University
Philip Sharp, Resources for the Future
Carson Taylor, Bonneville Power Administration (retired)
Sue Tierney, Analysis Group
Vijay Vittal, Arizona State University
Paul Whitstock, Marsh Inc.


NRC Staff
Board on Energy and Enveironmental Systems
Alan, Crane, Study Director
Duncan Brown, Senior Program Officer (part time)
Harrison  T. Pannella, Senior Program Officer (until July 2007)
David Cooke, Associate Program Officer
James J. Zucchetto, Director, BEES
National Academy of Engineering Program Office
Penelope Gibbs, Senior Program Associate


Terrorism and the Electric Power Delivery System (BEES)

Released 11/14/2012

The U.S. power delivery system is remarkably complex. Its network of substations, transmission lines, and distribution lines are not designed to withstand or quickly recover from damage inflicted simultaneously on multiple components. In addition, investment to strengthen and upgrade the grid has lagged, resulting in a high-voltage system with many heavily stressed parts. Overall, the nation’s power grid is in need of expansion and upgrading. Since all parts of the economy—as well as human health and welfare—depend on electricity, the results of a well-planned and coordinated attack on the power delivery system could be particularly devastating. This report1 examines technologies and strategies that could make the power delivery system less vulnerable to attacks, restore power faster after an attack, and make critical services less vulnerable while the power is out. The approaches explored in the report can greatly reduce the grid’s vulnerability to cascading failures, whether initiated by terrorists, nature, or malfunctions.

Report in Brief